Microsoft 365 allows you to migrate emails from other systems. For example, if you have an organization presently operating using a different email solution or Exchange serves or IMAP enabled email system, you would be able to migrate the mailboxes onto Office 365. There are several ways to go about office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration, like having your users import their email, mailbox, and contact information themselves to an Office 365 mailbox created for each individual user. Likewise, your organization can utilize third-party assistance to migrate the emails.
Third parties and other office-365 migration services that allow you to do such a task include but are not limited to:
DuoCircle, Cloudiway, and CodeTwo, to name 3 of the current popular options.
Office 365 migration by DuoCircle is rather simple, costing you around 200$. The cost for Cloudiway varies depending on the number of mailboxes that you need to migrate. As for CodeTwo, you get a 30-day trial. CodeTwo uses a sophisticated approach; however, not all of its features are available in the trial version.
Things to Consider prior to migration
Before you start with the migration process, check the review limit and scan all your options. For Exchange Online, you will have some additional choices to assure performance expectation and behavior.
Check Current Email Solution
Depending on your current emailing solution, your options will significantly vary. Office 365 to Office 365 migration is much easier because if you have an email solution that is inclusive within office 365’s eco-system, your options are simple and fast. Most of the users of Office 365 already tend to use Outlook, which significantly impacts the availability of their migrating options.
Are the users under your organization using the 2010 Office or newer?
This is an important consideration mainly because the Office might need to be upgraded before you are allowed to begin the Office 365 migration. This will add a huge sum to your expenses, and the added time is another inconvenience. Having Office 2007 will still allow you to migrate some stuff, but anything before 2007 will not even connect to Microsoft 365.
Migration Options: Compatibility, time, and performance
Cutover Migration– If you are coming from an existing Exchange Server Solution, you can migrate your email through several methods. Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, or 2016 allow you to utilize the cutover migration. The caveat, however, is that it is best for 150 mailboxes or lower. Although it can support up to 2000 mailboxes, the experience is good when you have only 150, and you have to manually assign licenses to each of the migrated users.
Staged Migration– This kind of migration is supported by Exchange 2007 and 2003. The issue is time and efficiency. This migration takes a lot of time and is suitable for those not in a hurry. You are able to migrate a subset of mailboxes to office 365 throughout the period of a few weeks or months, depending on your mailbox numbers. The advantage is that there are no limits on how many mailboxes you can migrate, which makes it more suitable for migrating mailboxes when they are much higher than 150. A short-term connection between office 365 and Exchange is suggested, and you have to deploy directory synchronization to use this kind of migration, and you must have at least one exchange server on-premises for mailbox management.
Hybrid Migration– This combines the Cutover method and Staged Migration method and adds additional benefits. Supported by Exchange 2010, 2013, and 2016, this method allows you to maintain long-term connections between mailboxes on the premises and on the cloud. The secure messaging function is seamless in this environment. This method allows organizations to extend the control that they have on their existing premises Exchange organization to the cloud. It can also serve as an intermediate step to completely move to the office 365 environment. Hybrid migration has three different flavors of its own:
- Full Hybrid – This is best for large organizations. The organizations that have thousands of mailboxes and require full integration between their On-premises exchange organization and Office 365.
- Minimal Hybrid – This method is best for medium-sized organizations having fewer mailboxes. For a few hundred to a thousand mailboxes, this method may suffice given you have some months to spare.
- Express Migration – Best suited towards smaller organizations having hundreds of mailboxes, requiring a few weeks to migrate.
Using Third Parties for Migration
For people who are not as tech-savvy and require additional help in the migration between tenants, getting help from third parties is the ideal solution. As mentioned before, these migration services allow you to automate the whole process without having to manually do them yourself. The services vary depending on the party that you go with. Some provide Office 365 migration kit, while others communicate and discuss the whole process and take it upon themselves to solve all the migrating issues one might face.
Choosing the right migration path
Choosing the right migration path depends on the size of the organization that you have, the type of organization that you run, and its user base. The email solution you have will affect the migration process, and so will the versions of Exchange Server that you might have been using. Most of the cases are situation-dependent and require you to determine your own infrastructure before initiating a migration. Use the Office 365 mail migration advisor and see if you are able to follow and understand the procedure. If you are struggling, it is ideal that you seek help from third-party office 365 migration services.